U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia February 19, 2020. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia February 19, 2020. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

UN agency postpones high-level ministerial conference due to COVID-19 concerns

By Xinhua Time of article published Mar 5, 2020

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ADDIS ABABA - The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA) on Wednesday disclosed the postponement of a high-level ministerial conference, which was scheduled to be held later this month in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, due to concerns pertaining to the COVID-19.

The Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, which was slated to be held from March 18 to 24 in Addis Ababa as part of the 53rd session of the Economic Commission for Africa, was postponed amid growing mounting global concerns regarding to the spread of the COVID-19, the ECA announced in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The ECA also disclosed that in addition to the Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, it will also "postpone all public meetings" due to fears emanating from the spread of coronavirus.

"Following global health concerns pertaining to the COVID-19 coronavirus and the need for added vigilance, upon consultation with partners, the ECA will postpone all public meetings until further notice," an ECA statement read.

"These include the 2020 Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. ECA will reach out to ministers to discuss member states preparedness," the ECA announced.

According to the ECA, the 53rd session of the ministerial conference expected to feature deliberations on digitisation and its impacts, including the challenges and the means, through which it is forcing a character makeover of the technology industry.

Experts and policymakers attending the high-level meeting are also expected to deliberate on how digitisation is opening up opportunities in agriculture, services and clean energy, and how these can help spur the processes of industrialisation and diversification, while providing options for adapting to climate change, including methods to ensure resilience, it was noted.

The upcoming conference, which is expected to present a call for action to take an active part in ensuring that the African continent prepares adequately for the world ahead, further envisaged highlighting Africa's endowment of clean energy potential, and the risks of expensive environmental damage, according to the ECA.

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